We built some raised beds out of reclaimed lumber and parts out of an old washing machine. I thought they would be a perfect place for my herb garden. The one hitch was that the chickens were as fond of the beds as I was. I began to look at garden borders and small fences and was disappointed at how expensive they all were. I only needed a temporary diversion for my herbs until they get established. So I pulled from my historical experience and decided to construct a stick fence. We have a large pile of brush for cooking with the grill so I sourced that for my fence. Larger branches were used for the vertical posts and I used smaller branches to weave in and out of the vertical posts. The stick fence worked great. My chickens were extremely confused and moved on to easier pastures. It cost me nothing and I can efficiently recycle the fence when my plants are big enough to expose to my bug patrol.
The reliability of milk when you are getting that milk from your animal is vastly different than purchasing it from the store. Most animals have a peak in milk production for a time after giving birth and that production wanes as time goes on. When milking your goat or cow you will come to a point where you question the efforts put toward milking. At some point your nanny or cow will need to be “refreshed” or bred again. There may be a point in your food pursuits that you will find yourself out of milk. If you have a freezer you can store that milk for later use. Here are a few tips that were gleaned from my doing things the “wrong” way before I figured out some more effective methods of milk storage. And as with all things; this is only one way to store milk, there are better ways out there.
Refrigerator Storage for Everyday Use
For refrigerator storage and regular usage of milk I have found wide mouth mason jars to be the most effective milk storage method. Glass cleans well and the wide mouth jars are much easier to wash than the regular mouth jars. I try not to use very much plastic because of the health hazards involved with plastic. You need to be conscientious about rotation of your milk in the refrigerator. Develop a system for rotation so you are always using up the oldest milk first. I also use my excess milk to make hard cheese that I wax and store in the cellar for hard times. Glass in the refrigerator is a good option; however, the freezer is very different. Just think back to basic science; liquid expands when it gets cold and glass gets brittle when its frozen.
Freezing Milk for Soap and Lotion
I hate being mid winter, without an animal in milk, and a strong desire to make some soap. So I freeze some of my goat milk to save for making soap and lotion. For cold process soap, having milk that is partially frozen is beneficial to the outcome of your soap so I like to have it frozen anyway. There are times when you may not be able to drink your goat’s milk. If your goat has issues with a worm overload and you have to medicate the goat you will need to withhold milk for seven to ten days. Rather than throwing the milk out you can save it for soap and lotion. Milking is a lot of work to have to throw out the results of that work.
I try to use as little plastic as possible so I store my frozen milk in aluminum foil. To do this you must use a two step process. I measure out the amount I need for my soap recipe and pour it in to metal bread pans and put them into the freezer. The metal bread pans are somewhat pliable making the removal of the milk cubes easier. Once they are frozen solid I wrap the frozen milk in aluminum foil and place it back into the freezer for later use.